In Praise of Trains (songs)

The other day I was listening to one of the dozens of submissions I get a week and a song cued up assaulting me with a ham-fisted ode to the locomotive. I was in front of my computer and finding myself without an internal editor I threw this into the Twitter wind “I love train songs, but there should never be another one written ever again….EVER AGAIN…” I had no idea this rail (see what I did there?) against a once beautiful metaphor that has been debased into a threadbare cliche’ would stir up such a…er…discussion. It appears people still ride, wait at crossings and live within spitting distance of the proverbial iron horse.

After much constructive tweet and forth I was convinced that, when done with respect and creativity, there is still room for a good old train song. Here are some of the top picks suggested to me by some of my good-natured and learned twitter followers that taught me the error of my ways. If you have others please leave them in the comments, and enjoy the ride!

Fred Eaglesmith – “I Like Trains”

Todd Snider – “Play a Train Song”

Amanda Shires – “When You Need a Train it Never Comes”

Justin Townes Earle – “Workin’ for the MTA”

Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band – Texas Eagle

7 thoughts on “In Praise of Trains (songs)

  1. emfrank
    July 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    We need train songs, at least as long as there is bluegrass music, because it works so well to sing about trains with a fiddle and driving banjo. Great selection here!

    Also, we need trains to make a comeback, but that is another discussion. When I lived on the East coast, I traveled by train a lot. Wish it was more possible.

  2. July 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Guy Clark’s Texas 1947.

  3. Baron Lane
    July 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    njenney and emfrank , thanks!

  4. Sarah
    July 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    A great train song is ‘My baby thinks she’s a train’ by Asleep at the Wheel with Leroy Preston. Love the Fred Eaglesmith.

  5. July 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Move along Train by Levon Helm
    Sandman brakeman and me by monsters of folk
    Train Robbery – Levon
    3 great train songs

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